Did you know flu is something beyond just a common cold? Did you know how the flu can affect your little one? If thinking about the flu has you worried, you might want to read this post. Here we talk about flu in children, how it affects them, what are flu symptoms in children and how do you treat it?
What Is Flu?
Flu or influenza is a viral respiratory disease, which affects your lungs. Influenza strains fall under three types: Influenza-A, Influenza-B, and Influenza-C. The classification depends on the general effect of each strain. Influenza strains further split into specific units like H1N1, H5N1, etc. depending on the composition. The commonality among all these strains is that the virus usually affects your lungs and the respiratory system.
Types of Flu:
Some of the typical types of flu around the world include:
- H1N1 (Swine Flu)
- H5N1 (Bird Flu)
Flu begins as a contagious disease and escalates to an epidemic, depending on local hygiene conditions, envi
Influenza In Children:
Children are more prone to influenza, as their immune systems are developing and thus weaker than adults. A higher number of kids contract influenza and pneumonia than adults. So, if you contract the flu, make sure that you don’t let your kid contract it.
Symptoms Of Flu In Children:
There are some typical flu symptoms in kids to help you identify the flu, which include:
- Sore throat
- Muscle ache
- General weakness for 2 to 3 weeks
- Difficulty breathing
- Gray or blue hued skin
- Reduced fluid intake
These are the common symptoms of flu, but there are some symptoms specific to certain types of flu. For example, vomiting and diarrhea are symptoms of swine flu.
[ Read: Causes Of Headache In Children ]
Complications Of Flu In Children:
If you overlook or neglect flu in the initial stages, it can escalate to a chronic condition and lead to diseases like asthma, pneumonia, congestive heart failure, diabetes, etc. The best thing to do is to use proper medication once you contract the flu.
The treatment is similar to that of the adults except that extra care is essential. Fluid intake is a must and should continue even if the kid is not interested in it. The kid will need a comfortable way to breath, and that can be facilitated using air humidifiers.
With a proper medication, the kid must be able to recover in 3 to 5 days. In case of bigger kids (8 to 12 years), the disease will be persistent for 1 or two weeks before it gets cured.
There is no flu vaccine for infants (0 to 6 months) but they are at a very high risk of getting infected. Follow the prevention measures, and that is the only means to protect children.
[ Read: Influenza Vaccine For Kids ]
Cold Vs. Flu:
Taking a precaution is necessary, and you need to differentiate the particular symptoms of flu to provide your child the right treatment. You can easily mistake the symptoms of cold and think that it’s flu. But there are some crucial differences. The symptoms may look similar but may vary in intensity and strength. To understand the concept further, let’s have a look at the exact difference between cold and flu.
The fundamental difference between cold and flu is that both occur due to different kinds of viruses. There is no perfect treatment for cold, and you can only prevent cold and manage its symptoms. Consider using various home remedies to cure it.
Flu, as we mention above, occurs due to a virus that belongs to the influenza family. There are many cures for the influenza virus, which we will impress upon later.
Differentiating Between Cold And Flu:
So, how do you differentiate between cold and influenza? Well, the symptoms are pretty similar, but you will note some differences. Influenza exhibits other symptoms like headache, along with common cold-like symptoms including congestion, cough and sore throat and muscle pains. Influenza also leads to vomiting and diarrhea, and high fever.
Preventing The Flu:
So, how do you keep yourself safe from the flu? Well, consider following some simple steps.
Flu Vaccination For Children:
Vaccination is a failsafe way of preventing influenza. The flu vaccine for children is available as either a nasal spray or an injection. If your child is above six months and you haven’t thought of vaccination, you should consider it strongly. There are also anti-viral drugs available that help protect you from the virus.
Most preventive measures have a few side effects like soreness, fever, and headache. If the side effects are more severe than usual, consult a physician immediately.
There are many cures you can consider to treat the flu.
As your kid contracts the flu, he might become very weak and look fatigued. Consider offering him some home remedies.
- Give him plenty of fluids and water to recover from the dehydration.
- Place a wet cloth on his forehead and the arms to reduce the temperatures.
- Humidifiers can help customize the air for easy breathing.
- Gargling warm water with a little salt helps clear a sore throat.
However, these are just symptoms. You need to let the flu cure itself naturally.
[ Read: Treatment For Dehydration In Children ]
If you aren’t convinced with the home remedies, there are many medications you can consider giving your little one. Some popular medications include:
- Oseltamivir (Tamiflu)
- Zanamivir (Relenza)
- Amantadine (Symmetrel)
- Rimantadine (Flumadine)
Remember that you need to consult your physician before using any of these medications for your child.
The general doubt of using antibiotics for curing flu is a myth. Antibiotics can cure only bacterial disease whereas flu is a viral attack.
Preventing An Epidemic:
Flu is a viral infection, and is highly contagious. Flu depends on your personal hygiene, the environment and the climate. Vaccination may not be enough at all times. Try raising awareness; vaccinate all the children in the community to prevent an epidemic. You can also quarantine your kid in the house until he gets better.
We hope you found the information useful. The next time your kid contracts the flu, you’ll know what to do. Tell us how you dealt with your little one’s flu. Fellow moms would love to know.